Re: [xmca] Vygotsky on Identity?

From: Wolff-Michael Roth <mroth who-is-at>
Date: Sat Nov 24 2007 - 07:06:38 PST

Hi all,
I hesitated in letting you know, because I have no intention or need
for self-promotion. But some may be interested in this paper in which
I develop a CHAT position on identity; and it appeared in a special
issue that our CHAT colleague Julian Williams from Manchester
University had edited. Cheers, Michael

Roth, W.-M. (2007). The ethico-moral nature of identity: Prolegomena
to the development of third-generation cultural-historical activity
theory. International Journal of Educational Research, 46, 8393.

On 23-Nov-07, at 3:53 PM, Andy Blunden wrote:

It does seem to me that LSV's understanding of "personality" is very
close to what we might call "identity" and his approach is not
dissimilar to Mead's approach to the Self, too. But as Boris
indicates, the concept is not made an "independent subject of
thought" but rather peripheral, which is not surprising given what we
have seen.

Re Paul's observation: of course people have an identity whether or
not there is a social "identity crisis" making the idea a part of
popular psychology. But for example, while I said that Aristotle did
not know the problem, his approach was the you were an Athenian, or a
Spartan, or whatever; one's identity was one's city. In many
societies including today's, identity is in that sense not
problematic and unquestioned within a certain social setting and
therefore escapes attention. While there is of course a sense in
which identity is imposed by others, the whole point is that it comes
to be voluntarily adopted or learnt; it becomes problematic only when
it an individual is for one reason or another unable or unwilling to
voluntarily put on the imposed mask, yes? When *everyone* you know or
have heard of stands with pride at the sound of the Star Spangled
Banner then being an American is not part of any identity problem (no
such time ever existed of course); only when some brave soul refuses
to stand do we discover this as an element of identity. yes?

At 10:56 AM 23/11/2007 -0800, mike wrote:
> >
> > Apparently, those who believe that the problem of identity,
> identification,
> > self determination were not independent subjects of thought and
> > investigation by LSV are correct. I can only propos a few of his
> statements
> > on the development of personality and self consciousness (this
> connection
> > Vygotsky clearly did describe)
> >
> > "the difference between child and adolescent may be best
> expressed by
> > Hegel's position that distinguished things in themselves and
> things for
> > oneself. He said that the all things are initially in themselves,
> but
> > matters do not stop at this point and in the process of
> development the
> > thing turns into a thing for onself. Thus, he said, a person
> (man) in
> > himself is a child, whose task is to leave behind that abstract and
> > undeveloped "in himself" and in so doing, in order to become for
> himself in
> > a way that he is in the meantime only in himself, that is, to
> become a free
> > and intelligent being. This very transformation of the child into
> an adult
> > (man) in himself in the adolescent -- a person (man) for himself--
> > constitutes the major content of the entire crisis of this
> transitional age.
> > It is an epoch of the maturation of personality and world view
> (Pedology of
> > the Adolescent, Comp Works, v4, p. 199)
> >
> > Personality becomes for itself, when it has previously been in
> itself, through what it
> > manifests through others (History of Dev of HPF, Coll. Works, Vol
> 3, p. 144)
> >
> > The following addition from same work is very important:
> >
> > James Baldwin correctly noted that the concept of "I" develops in
> a child
> > from the concept of others. The concept, personality, that is,
> the social,
> > reflected, concept, is built on the basis of the fact that the
> child uses in
> > relationship to himself those means of adaptation which he uses in
> > relationship to others. This is why it is possible to say that
> personality
> > is the social in us. (vol 3, p. 324)
> >
> From Varshava and Vygotsky (1931) *Psychological Dictionary*:
> >
> > Identification (Freud) - the equating, making similar, of oneself
> to another
> > personality, the adoption by oneself of the characteristics of a
> specific
> > person. Identification plays a huge role in reminisences, dreams and
> > creativity. The psychological sense of identification comes down
> to the
> > widening of one's circle of experiences (perezhivania), to the
> enrichment of
> > innner life.
> >
> > Personality is a term indicating a unity in the indivualenss of
> all everyday
> > life and psychological manifestation of persons; a person (man)
> accepting
> > himself as a certain individual unity and entity in all processes
> of change
> > that take place in the organism and the psyche - this is
> personality.
> > Disease of personality is expressed in the disintegration of this
> unity.
> >
> > And also:
> > In *Psychology of Art *in the chapter on Hamlet Vygotsky
> accentuates the
> > concept, "second birth." In the works of AN Leontiev one also
> encounters
> > this term in connection with the development of self-
> consciousness during
> > adolescence.

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